The weekend rolls on with 15 more games on Saturday, including more action from a critical series between the Blue Jays and Red Sox. Justin Verlander’s Astros return is on tap, while Blake Snell, Corbin Burnes, and George Kirby are among the other big names on the mound. Let’s dive into some NRFI best bets from Saturday’s action.
MLB Best NRFI Bets for 8/5/23
Here’s a look at the best NRFI bets from Saturday’s slate of games.
Astros vs. Yankees NRFI (-108)
There is a ton of fanfare surrounding this pitching matchup, and you just know Justin Verlander will be dialed in as he makes his return to the Astros rotation. Beyond the adrenaline he’ll have, Verlander was pitching at an elite level before his trade back to Houston.
The 40-year-old had a 1.49 ERA in his final seven starts as a Met, holding opposing hitters to a .178 AVG and .499 OPS over that span. Walks have popped up as an issue at times, but he allowed just one home run in that stretch. That’s key. The top of the Yankees’ lineup has been exceptionally easy to navigate in recent weeks, but with Anthony Rizzo out, Aaron Judge back, and Giancarlo Stanton on a hot streak, Verlander will just have to avoid the home run ball.
Nestor Cortes Jr. is making a return of his own. He was shaky early in the season, but if he’s feeling anything like he did last season, the adrenaline should be pumping for him as well. It won’t be easy to get through the top of the Astros’ order with Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker hitting well, but don’t forget how dominant Cortes was last season – with a 0.92 WHIP and just 38 walks, he’s proven he can handle a tough lineup like this one.
Mariners vs. Angels NRFI (-115)
George Kirby has spent the summer trading dominant outings with uncharacteristic blowups. Even with that being said, he remains a very safe pitcher because of how little he walks hitters. Kirby leads all qualified pitchers with an average of just one walk per nine innings, and that could take away one major advantage Shohei Ohtani gives the Angels – Ohtani’s constant walks have helped keep the Angels’ lineup going.
Kirby has allowed a first inning run in only one of his last seven starts. Navigating around Ohtani may not be as easy as it sounds, especially with Luis Rengifo and C.J. Cron both hitting well around him, but Kirby isn’t going to give the Angels many free passes and has a good chance to earn another scoreless first.
Tyler Anderson is a riskier arm to trust, but the Mariners’ offense just isn’t as threatening. Anderson posted a 3.28 ERA in July, and while opponents hit .282 against him, he had success because he doesn’t allow many home runs. The Mariners often depend on the home run ball, and it won’t come easy against Anderson early on – he’s allowing one home run every 10 innings at home this season.
Pirates vs. Brewers NRFI
The uncertainty surrounding Bailey Falter might add some value to the line, which is worth considering just based on the Corbin Burnes vs. Pirates matchup alone.
Burnes was excellent in July, posting a 1.85 ERA including an absolutely ridiculous .115 opponent AVG. He looks every bit like the Cy Young winner he was two years ago, and a Pirates team that averages just 0.39 first inning runs (29th in MLB) could be overmatched – particularly after trading Carlos Santana to Burnes’ team.
That should just leave new acquisition Falter to get through the top of the Brewers’ lineup. Falter struggled earlier in the season with the Phillies but had a respectable 2022, posting a 3.86 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 84 innings of work. Does he have enough in the tank to navigate this Brewers lineup early?
Milwaukee has an uninspiring offense, but Christian Yelich has been a hit machine for several weeks now. The power hasn’t been there for No. 2 hitter William Contreras, though, and contact starts to dip with Santana and Willy Adames. The Brewers’ offense is quiet enough to give this Burnes-Pirates matchup a shot.